America and the world have reached a tipping point. Climate change is destroying and burning our most treasured forested landscapes while turning our cities into ovens, aided by lack of trees and the urban heat island effect. Climate impacts are hitting our most vulnerable communities the hardest, worsening deep seated inequities along income and racial lines. The natural assets provided by our forests are being diminished, from supplying clean drinking water and habitats for fish and wildlife, to flood protection, to delivering key physical and mental benefits for communities.
This is why on the brink of its 150th Anniversary, American Forests (“AF”) is entering a new, more critical era, one in which we are laser-focused on meeting two most pressing imperatives of this moment — slowing climate change and advancing social and racial equity — with forests and trees at the center. In a time when green spaces have proven their value for people and the planet, our movement has taken flight, which is why we are aiming for a number of bold new goals by 2030 — from reforesting 20 million acres of public land to supporting 100 cities in achieving “tree equity” in their highest-need neighborhoods to helping 100,000 people from our most marginalized communities thrive in the “green jobs” sector.
To help us achieve these goals and following a successful rebrand, American Forests now seeks an experienced, media relations professional to help take AF to this next level. As a key member of AF’s communications team’s leadership, the Senior Director of Media Relations will oversee the development and execution of media-centered strategies to drive a positive understanding of our brand and efforts to advance forest conservation, tree equity and climate solutions among key audiences, including policymakers and funders.
Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to understanding AF’s technical expertise, its key partners and ecosystem, and its fundraising needs, and to identifying media opportunities that elevate our brand and work as part of larger conservation, climate change, and environmental justice movements. Our ideal candidate has in-depth public relations experience in the non-profit or policy fields — or agency experience working with clients like AF — as well as expertise in rapid response communications and media activities that help convey complex science, policy, and data in accessible ways.
Finally, the Senior Director must be open to coaching and growing a team of media specialists, managing crisis communications, and hiring and overseeing an agency of record to support media outreach.
- Minimum of 8 years of experience in a media relations/publicity role, with at least three years of this in a leadership/staff management role.
- Deep experience in cause, environmental, policy, or philanthropic fields or at a campaign-driven organization.
- Proven metrics around building a national voice for an organization through creating and cultivating relationships with media, including editorial boards, traditional and broadcast journalists/producers, and digital and new media creators.
- Proven ability to create and utilize strong media and key influencer relationships to drive results; deep experience working with journalists at key outlets across print, broadcast, podcasts and online channels.
- TV/radio or news experience a plus; media planning / buying knowledge and knowledge of media relations databases preferred.
Public relations strategy, vision, and leadership (70%)
- Plan, manage and implement full public relations strategy at AF, in partnership with the VP of Marketing and Communications, Senior Director of Digital Marketing and Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships.
- Engage and pitch journalists, editorial boards, media creators and producers to help introduce and broaden awareness and visibility of AF’s brand, programs and priorities around key audiences and across diverse media channels.
- Oversee the development of “AF Speakers Bureau,” by helping to strategize with AF experts and secure opportunities on appropriate thought leadership platforms to elevate American Forests, its leading science and research, and its leaders, including around key press launches, public speaking events, traditional, new, and broadcast media opportunities and opinion piece placements.
- Proactively monitor and keep abreast of current affairs, events, conferences and milestones in the fields of forestry, climate change and federal policy in order to identify cross-promotional opportunities, and to help craft long-term editorial and events calendar and rapid response tactics on behalf of AF.
- Develop sharp strategies, responses, and press materials for all media opportunities and requests, including media advisories, statements, press releases, talking points, pitches, media trainings, briefings, talking points, messaging documents, factsheets, and rapid response/crisis materials.
- Develop integrated public relations tools (toolkits, templates and briefings) for internal AF staff and external partners.
- Alongside AF communications and fundraising staff, ensure consistency of messaging across, print and electronic publications, marketing and fundraising materials, events, media statements, digital assets and social channels in order to ensure enhancement of the AF’s brand, programs and 2030 goals.
Brand, team, and systems oversight (30%)
- Help design and support several key national and regional campaigns around AF’s “tree equity” and “resilient forests” programs, its U.S. and global policy priorities, its 150th Anniversary, and external partnerships, including with high-level funders, the World Economic Forum (1t.org), and others, to achieve private and public sector outcomes related to our 2030 goals.
- Keep apprised of CEO calendar and public speaking opportunities, in order to support CEO publicist’s efforts.
- Research, vet, retain and oversee the use of an agency of record, and other outside services and vendor contracts; manage media-related budgetary and operational functions.
- Ensure high-quality KPIs are set and employed to gauge the effectiveness of direct reports in meeting AF’s brand and program goals.
- Oversee the day-to-day activities of media team, including media buy and budget planning, staff development, and supervising contracted communications vendors, as needed.
- Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that emphasizes learning and a commitment to excellence through a supportive and collaborative approach.
- Develop media relations management system, including recommending and implementing database needs.
- Create opportunities for organization-wide media trainings, social media “bootcamps,” opinion writing and other communications-related workshops.
Supervises 1-3 direct reports and external vendors.
This position will initially be remote, with later possibilities for working in American Forests’ Washington, DC office. Occasional travel to American Forests projects and events will be required.
To apply for this position, please send a cover letter, resume, and two communications campaigns/projects to email@example.com.
American Forests is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to diversity in the workplace. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or other characteristics protected by law.
If you are unable to submit your resume due to a disability, contact American Forests to request an accommodation or alternative application process.